Wait, before you jump to the conclusion that omnichannel marketing is a made-up word, give it a chance! This little marketing gem is something your business should be embracing to get real results in the modern world.
Unless you’ve spent much of your time huddled in an igloo whilst researching penguins in Antarctica, you’re probably well aware that marketing has radically changed. We’ve come a long way from the mass, push-based print and TV advertising that the baby boomers were very familiar with. Today we are experiencing a more personalised, 1:1 approach.
Batch and blast email campaigns are on the decline. Generic print advertising is fast becoming money wasted. And gone are the good old days where Barry the vacuum cleaner seller could spend 10 minutes telling you how great the power and suction of this brand is over others on the market. It can even lift a bowling ball – handy when the kids leave them around. Whilst before people would pick up the phone and order immediately without any other research, times have changed!
Today, the path to buy can involve many different devices, sites, channels and locations. The journey can start and stop at any time.
A seamless and effective user experience across all channels is now vital for effective business marketing.
Businesses today need to provide one clear journey and experience across multiple channels. They need to take an omnichannel marketing approach.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Think about the last purchase you made. Not your normal morning coffee, let’s think a big bigger. Perhaps it was a television, gift, winter jacket or even a car. How many different channels did you visit before making a decision about the right choice for you?
Did you visit brick and mortar stores? A website? Review site? App? Did you receive a catalogue in the mail? Spot a TV ad about the product? Notice a post/ad about in on your Facebook news feed?
According to Google, 90 per cent of people with multiple devices switch between screens to complete a task. And they’re using an average of three different screen devices each day. There are more potential touchpoints for your brand and more sources of information for your customers than ever before. And they are using them prior to purchasing!
Omnichannel marketing is about viewing your customer’s journey with your brand and products through their eyes. It’s about orchestrating a customer experience that is seamless, integrated, consistent and keeps you top of mind. It anticipates the next move your customer makes, the next piece of information they need, and keeps the messaging and imagery consistent to ensure they are continuously seeing the same solution.
It involves understanding and prioritising the customer’s needs, interests and behaviours. It’s about creating a journey that could span days, locations, devices and marketing channels.
According to a survey by Aspect Software, businesses that adopt an omnichannel strategy achieve 91 per cent greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to business that don’t.
What is difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing?
You may be familiar with the term multichannel marketing. It means exactly that – using many channels for your business marketing.
All omnichannel marketing strategies will use multiple channels. However, not all multichannel marketing strategies embrace an omnichannel approach.
If your messaging and channels aren’t working together, you are traveling down the multichannel marketing lane my friend. Roll down the window…can you hear that chugging? That’s your business struggling to push out multiple messages, campaigns, and content without an integrated approach.
Might be time to use the higher quality fuel for customer results – omnichannel marketing.
An example of omnichannel marketing
Whilst there are many great examples of omnichannel marketing done well, our pick is Sephora. The beauty giant delivers an experience that caters distinctly to their target market and is neatly tied in a (nail)polished bow.
Sephora understands its niche and customer’s wants and needs. The head marketing honchos know that Sephora provides a lot of variety to choose from in their stores. They also know this can make product selection overwhelming for a first-time shopper. They’ve created a personalised approach through a loyalty program – My Beauty Bag – that allows customers to manage their purchases, favourite products and see products that might best fit their needs and style. Ahhh personalised marketing – you magical, eyeshadow wearing beast.
Customers can visit their Beauty Bag whilst shopping in store, in the app and online to make purchasing easy. They can also digitally ‘try on’ products through a tool in the My Beauty Bag software. If they like the product, they can add it to their wish list and easily purchase all items from the app, in store or online.
In addition, they offer complimentary makeovers and beauty workshops to help users to discover the right products for them and add new products to their repertoire.
It makes finding the right lippy colour a whole lot easier, and builds trust between their business and consumers.
Their approach to personalised marketing makes converting easy. They give their customers what they want, in the way they want it.
Four steps to implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy in your business
To create an effective omnichannel marketing campaign, you first need to learn everything you possibly can about your customers. Where they shop, their demographics, their interests, habits and routines. Whether they are coffee or tea drinkers. Whether they keep their BBQ sauce in the cupboard or fridge. And if they’re big night out people or stay in with Netflix and a good block of chocolate people.
You can discover a lot about your customers by:
- Conducting anonymous surveys using an internal or external resource
- Asking and listening during your customer service process
- Through digital traffic to your website and social sites
- Via your current buyer behaviours.
Use this information to create personas that reflect each of your key customers. You personas should become direct every marketing approach you take.
Now that you know who your customers are and how they behave, are you reaching them in the right way?
Whilst you might be doing ‘all the things’ when it comes to your marketing, you’re wasting your time if your customers aren’t even using that channel to find products like yours.
Remember that chugging car? If the extras are weighing you down, refocus your approach and throw out the luggage that is not getting you the right results. That doesn’t include your grandma in the back seat though – best to keep her sitting happily there.
Personalisation is critical to an effective omnichannel marketing approach. Where possible, you want to personalise your messaging, content and products to the right persona, in the right way and at the right time. This allows you to build a 1:1 connection with your audience across the channels that they use to access information on products like yours.
You can do this by crafting a unique suite of ads, landing pages, emails, etc with messaging that speaks specifically to that audience. Yes, that might mean setting up one suite of messaging that sells your ballet classes to single, stay-at-home dads. And then a completely different message for the households where mum makes the extracurricular decisions.
You can also do this by creating a personalised shopping experience using a similar approach to Sephora’s. Can you create a digital self-service space where customers can manage their dealings with you and, in turn, provide your business with valuable data and insight? This is like taking candy from a baby – your customers essentially bring you the information you need to make your approach even better.
You could also consider retargeting approaches. Such as sending similar or complementary products to people who have recently purchased from your website or visited a product page. For example, say someone adds a pair of shoes to the cart on your website but doesn’t follow through with the purchase. A follow-up ad on Facebook or email (if they’re in your database) could be the simple thing you need to do to convert them into a purchaser.
The secret here is all about providing information and a service that provides value to your customers. Steer clear of marketing that simply pushes ‘buy now’ messages down their throat.
A lot of the magic that comes into good marketing is keeping an eye on your results and evolving your approach based on the data. You’ve put in the hard yards to set up your seamless customer experience, so make sure you are leveraging that. Be present, listen, seek feedback, test your experience yourself and evolve your approach if the data isn’t showing the result you want.
One of the best ways to track your customers movements across multiple spaces is through a sophisticated customer relationship management tool. The Marketing GP is a Hubspot partner. We’ve used their customer tracking and personalised marketing capabilities to enhance the customer experience for clients in a range of industries. And we’ve used it for ourselves!